Cataviņa,La Mysteriosa-Baja Beauty Kevin Worrall Climbing 95

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Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 26, 2010 - 05:25pm PT
Kevin mentioned this excellent article recently on another Baja thread but it deserves its own. From Climbing August-September 1995.























Sure looks like some big, warm fun while the rain falls up here in Drizzletown!
go-B

climber
Revelation 7:12
Dec 26, 2010 - 07:24pm PT
photo not found
Missing photo ID#183593
From a 4X4 road trip to Baja, we passed by Cataviņa in the late 1970's early 1980's, I called it, "Baja 500", FA?

We went to Bahia Tortugas and San Marcos, Scuba diving as well, never made it to Cabo like we planned, but had quite the trip!


Edit; The middle photo, there is a piece of loose flake on my lap that I pulled out of the crack on lead, I forgot about that!
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Dec 26, 2010 - 07:43pm PT
Did you get your handle from that crack climb, gobee? Catavina cracks are pretty darn gritty. But there are some good ones hiding in those boulder piles.

Haven't seen this in a while - thanks for dredging another old story up, Steve!

The opening spread photo of Sean Myles (which is broken into two photos) was on the first roll I shot with a 20 mm which I was testing to possibly buy. I paid for the lens (and more) with that one photo! If that happened more often, I'd probably still be shooting climbing photos.

The Crystal Mountain Arete is an amazing miniature classic, lost in the far reaches of the boulderfield. I had maybe ten different photos of that ultra obscure route published due to its uniqueness, and dramatic position.


Probably real nice down there about now if it's gotten some of the early rain we have in San Diego. It's warmer than Josh, no rangers for hundreds of miles, and right up there with Josh for aesthetics.

You might actually wish there were rangers down there if things went wrong...

EDIT: just read your post Roxjox - all the climbing I've done is a mile or two north of the "wet spot" in the dip. Now there's a well marked cave painting pullout there. You have to know where to go to get the goods, or you've gotta wander for miles to find it in the maze of rock. Most all the best stuff is nearly drive up, actually, by following faint dirt roads which wander around the boulderfield.

The Corridor Arete in the opening photo is only 200 yds from the hwy. You can see it from your car as you drive on the NE side of the road. Right next to it is a route called Caught Inside which climbs the face out of The Corridor. Very sustained, slightly less than vertical, solid 5.12. Really good, and damn hard!

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 26, 2010 - 07:57pm PT
You have photos to go with all these tasty route names, right?!?
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Dec 26, 2010 - 08:04pm PT
I shot a lot of photos in the course of doing the story, Steve.

All on film, and I have no scanner.



Sean Myles wrote a story in some British mag about his trip down there, and used photos which Climbing didn't. He was quite taken with the place, and the whole experience.

He found an amazingly perfect arrowhead on one of our hikes...

The place must have been covered with Native Americans at some point in history. It's a central point in an obvious cross-peninsula travel route.

go-B

climber
Revelation 7:12
Dec 26, 2010 - 08:11pm PT
Cool photos Kev, and killer looking routes!
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Dec 26, 2010 - 08:13pm PT
Yes, year round water in Catavina, always at a spring just upstream from the other arroyo crossing just south of town.

And about ten miles west, there is a major spring and archaeological site in a drainage which snakes down to the Pacific at Puerto Mujeres. As you near the coast, the Arroyo floor is nearly solid midden for miles.

Some pretty special point breaks down that way...
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 26, 2010 - 08:16pm PT
Get a scanner fella! They are cheap for something that allows you to save and share your memories! You have a deep slidebox and the clock is ticking on the really old shots. It becomes automatic once you tweak the results a bit!
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Dec 26, 2010 - 08:33pm PT
Rox -

It IS the (N)east side. I mistakenly wrote NW.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Dec 26, 2010 - 08:53pm PT
The first boojums appear just south of El Rosario, and pretty much cover the peninsula to about 4,000 ft in elevation from there down. Except right along the coast.

There are loads of 40 - 50 footers around Catavina.

And the truckers don't stray far from the pavement.
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
Dec 27, 2010 - 11:42am PT
I remember this article. Very nice! Thanks for the post, Steve, and for the killer story and pics, Kevin.

The one shot of the Crystal Mountain Arete is beautiful, and that belay is heck-a-dynamic!
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Dec 27, 2010 - 11:46am PT
Kevin, isn't this also the place you found out about the aerodynamic characteristics of a levi jacket while wearing it? A funny story with a not so funny outcome if I remember right?
guyman

Trad climber
Moorpark, CA.
Dec 27, 2010 - 12:13pm PT
Thx for posting this.......

I will add to the "endless road trip guide" I am making for my retirement.

living is cheap in baja.

drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Dec 27, 2010 - 01:27pm PT
There's some buried treasure down there....

Kinda hard to get frothing surfers to stop there if gas isn't needed.
Punta Pequena or bust!
Best part of the (hwy) drive.

Thanks KW and SG!
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Dec 27, 2010 - 01:47pm PT
Yes Pat, you have the gist of it.

The actual location was about 30 miles south, just north of the Bahia de Los Angeles road, near Rancho El Desengano. The jacket's label was Carhartt rather than Levi.

Strangely, a few minutes before I was launched into the air by an incredibly powerful wind gust, I had discovered the single most impressive cave painting I have seen in Baja Norte. Amazingly well preserved, and beautifully composed. And this was right at the winter solstice. I was tossed about 15 ft through the air after opening up my jacket, and broke my calcaneus on impact.

The fictional story I wrote to open the Catavina article is about an Indian brave named Viento (wind en espanol), and his actual return to our Catavina camp to check us out in the form of a rogue wind gust. On the winter solstice. I wrote the story 2 years before breaking my heel.

To top it off "el desengano" means the mishap!

You have to read the story to appreciate how unusual the circumstances are...


Edit: probably just a big coincidence...

all in jim

climber
Dec 27, 2010 - 03:18pm PT
That shot of the Crystal Mountain Arete is so cool! It has everything... the warm winter sun, a cool looking line, a great belay / sundeck, and a beautiful woman's butt (look at the rock behind the arete!)

Kevin, you should get a scanner if only to scan your incredible shot of Thomas Huber on the Salathe headwall, one of the best of all time.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
Dec 27, 2010 - 05:11pm PT
This seems to be the location. Or at least pretty darn close. I think...

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=217892262123461097139.00048d147095f50172cbc&ll=29.753424,-114.744022&spn=0.008383,0.012982&t=h&z=16&lci=com.panoramio.all

Looks like a cool place!
drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Dec 27, 2010 - 05:19pm PT
...and when your tips are fried,
just keep on truckin.





The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Dec 27, 2010 - 07:12pm PT
Bluering,

It's a bit north of where you're link puts you, like a mile or two.


Is that The Wall Jefe?

There is some excellent climbing within a half hour of The Wall.
Klimmer

Mountain climber
San Diego
Dec 28, 2010 - 01:12am PT
You guys are making me miss Baja.

How I miss Baja.

My bachelor's party was at Canon Tajo.

My children haven't even seen TJ yet.

I'm tired of staying out of Mexico because of the drug wars.

Great climbing, exploring, paragliding, surfing, diving and snorkeling, the list goes on and on.



I wish things would return to some normalcy down there. Well everywhere actually. The only real way to go now and to do so safely, is to go down in a large group or caravan. My wife and I used to drive all over the peninsula via my Toyota 4x4, just the 2 of us alone, and our equipment.

What is everyone's opinion on this concerning safety now in Baja and the frontera?
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